What’s the Penalty for Driving Without Insurance in Your State?

Driving without Car Insurance
Insurance premiums can be tough to fit into your budget. So it’s natural to wonder: “Do I really need car insurance? Can I get away with not having it? And what’s the penalty for driving without insurance?”

Here are the short answers: Yes, you need car insurance. You’ll almost certainly get caught, either by the police or by the state’s verification system. And the consequences for driving without insurance can be really bad — and really expensive.

We have a better idea! Use Compare.com’s powerful quote engine to find the cheapest car insurance option for you. Then, you won’t have to risk driving uninsured.

What Happens If You Get Caught Driving Without Insurance?

This depends on the state where you live. (We list each state’s penalties below.) In general, the penalties may include:

  • A fine
  • Jail time
  • Points on your license
  • The suspension of your license, registration and/or plates
  • Having your vehicle impounded
  • Court fees and reinstatement fees
  • The requirement to file an SR-22

Worst of all is if you hurt someone in an accident and you don’t have car insurance. That could be the most expensive mistake you ever make, because you’ll have to pay for the victims’ hospital bills, car repairs and other losses.

Many states also have a “no pay, no play” law. This means that if you’re hurt in a car accident that was someone else’s fault, but you don’t have your own car insurance, you may be limited in the amount of damages you can collect from them.

In Michigan, an uninsured driver may have to pay for other people’s injuries and losses — even if the uninsured driver didn’t cause the crash.

What About Driving Someone Else’s Car Without Insurance?

When you’re borrowing someone else’s car, does the insurance come with it? This is a tricky question.

In general, as long as you have permission to drive the vehicle, the owner’s policy should cover injuries and property damage — but that depends on the specific terms of the policy. If the vehicle being driven is not insured, then both the driver and the owner may face penalties.

What Are the Penalties For Driving Uninsured In Your State?

We’ve rounded up the consequences in every state. Be aware, however, that the law may change, and that the penalties for driving uninsured can vary. If you’re caught driving uninsured, it might be a good idea to get a lawyer.

Alabama
The penalty for driving without insurance in Alabama, for a first offense, is a fine up to $500 and a suspended registration. You’ll have to pay $200 to reinstate it. For a second offense, the fine can go up to $1,000, and you’ll have to pay a $400 reinstatement fee after a mandatory four-month suspension.

 
Here’s our guide to finding cheap car insurance in Alabama.

Alaska
Driving without insurance in Alaska can mean a $500 fine and suspension of your license for 90 days up to three years, depending on the number of violations. Your vehicle may also be impounded, which means you have to pay to get it back.

 
Here’s our guide to finding cheap car insurance in Alaska.

Arizona
The penalty for driving without insurance in Arizona is a fine of up to $250 and the suspension of your license for up to three months, for a first offense. For a second offense within 36 months, you’re looking at a fine of at least $500 and a suspended license up to six months.
 
For a third offense in that time period, the penalty for driving without insurance is a fine of at least $750 and a year-long suspension of your license and registration. You’ll also need an SR-22 form — and that gets expensive!

 
Here’s our guide to finding cheap car insurance in Arizona.

Arkansas
The penalty for driving without insurance in Arkansas isn’t too bad: a fine of $50 to $250, plus another $20 to reinstate your registration if it’s suspended. Police can also seize your car’s license plate, if you’re pulled over and you have no proof of insurance.
 
A second offense carries a mandatory $250 to $500 fine, and a third offense may mean up to a year in jail plus a fine of up to $1,000.

 
Here’s our guide to finding cheap car insurance in Arkansas.

California
The fine for driving without insurance in California, for a first offense, is $100 to $200, plus any additional assessments. It’s possible your car may be impounded, too. If you’re caught again within three years, your fine will be between $200 and $500, plus assessments.
 
If you provide fake proof of insurance in California, that’s a misdemeanor — and the penalties get a lot worse. You can get up to 30 days in jail and/or a fine up to $750, and you’ll lose your license for a year.

 
Here’s our guide to finding cheap car insurance in California.

Colorado
When punishing uninsured drivers, Colorado does not play around. For a first offense, the penalty is a minimum $500 fine and the suspension of your license until you can prove that you’re insured. You’ll also get four points on your license.
 
Drive uninsured a second time, and you’ll pay a minimum $1,000 fine and have your license suspended for four months. A third offense means a minimum $1,000 fine and license suspension for eight months. You may also have to perform up to 40 hours of community service if ordered by the court. Trust us: It’s a lot cheaper just to buy insurance.

 
Here’s our guide to finding cheap car insurance in Colorado.

Connecticut
If you’re caught driving without insurance in CT, you may have to pay a fine of $100 to $1,000. Not only that, but if you own the vehicle that’s uninsured, you can be convicted of a class C misdemeanor — which carries a fine of up to $500, imprisonment up to three months, or both.
 
There are more penalties, too: the suspension of your driver’s license and registration for one month (for a first conviction) or six months (for later convictions), a fee of $175 to restore your license and registration, and the seizure of your vehicle.

 
Here’s our guide to finding cheap car insurance in Connecticut.

Delaware
It’s a tiny state with huge penalties for driving uninsured. In Delaware, you’re looking at a fine of no less than $1,500 for the first offense and no less than $3,000 for subsequent offenses within three years. On top of that, your driving privileges will be suspended for six months.

 
Here’s our guide to finding cheap car insurance in Delaware.

Florida
Florida is the state with the highest percentage of uninsured drivers — 26.7 percent, according to the Insurance Information Institute. The penalties for driving without insurance in Florida: the suspension of your registration and license plates for up to three years (or until proof of insurance is provided), and a reinstatement fee: $150 to $500.

 
Here’s our guide to finding cheap car insurance in Florida.

Georgia
If you’re caught driving without insurance in GA, that’s considered a misdemeanor. A conviction means a fine of not less than $200.00 nor more than $1,000.00 or imprisonment for not more than 12 months, or both.

 
Here’s our guide to finding cheap car insurance in Georgia.

Hawaii
The penalties for driving without insurance in Hawaii include a fine of $500 for the first offense and $1,500 for each subsequent offense that occurs within a five-year period. You’ll also have your license suspended for three months for the first conviction or one year for later convictions.
 
Multiple convictions for driving uninsured in HI also can result in up to 30 days in jail, the suspension of your registration, and the impoundment of your car.
Idaho
The first time you’re caught driving without insurance in Idaho, you just have to pay a $75 fine. NBD, right? But if you’re caught doing it a second time within five years, that’s a misdemeanor, which means a fine of up to $1,000 and up to 6 months in jail.

 
Here’s our guide to finding cheap car insurance in Idaho.

Illinois
The penalties for driving without insurance in Illinois are steep: a fine of $500-$1,000, a suspended driver’s license and an extra $100 reinstatement fee. If your license plates are already suspended due to a previous insurance violation, you’ll have to pay another $1,000 fine on top of that. You may also be required to file an SR-22 yearly.

 
Here’s our guide to finding cheap car insurance in Illinois.

Indiana
Caught driving without insurance in Indiana? You’ll have your license suspended for at least 90 days, and you’ll have to pay $250 to get it back. You’ll also have to carry an SR-22 for three years. Get caught a second time, and you’ll lose your license for a year, with a $500 fee; a third time, and the reinstatement fee goes up to $1,000.
 
Luckily for you, cheap car insurance isn’t hard to find in Indiana!
 
Here’s our guide to finding cheap car insurance in Indiana.
Iowa
The penalties for driving without insurance in Iowa include paying a fine of $250 (or doing community service). Your license plates and/or your vehicle can be impounded, and you’ll have to pay the towing, storage and administrative fees, too.
 
Did you know that, of all 50 states, Iowa has the second-cheapest auto insurance?  Here’s our guide to finding cheap car insurance in Iowa.
Kansas
In Kansas, driving without insurance is considered a misdemeanor, which carries a fine of $300 to $1,000, and/or up to 6 months in jail. If you’re caught a second time within three years, you’re looking at a fine of $800 to $2,500, plus a driver’s license suspension.

 
Here’s our guide to finding cheap car insurance in Kansas.

Kentucky
The penalty for driving without auto insurance in Kentucky is having your registration revoked. Both the vehicle owner and the vehicle driver may also pay a fine of $500 to $1,000 and/or serve up to 90 days in jail.

 
Here’s our guide to finding cheap car insurance in Kentucky.

Louisiana
If you’re caught driving without insurance in Louisiana, you can have your registration suspended, your license plates canceled and your vehicle impounded. You may also have to pay a fine of $500 or more, plus $60 in fees to have your registration reinstated. And that’s just for a first offense — the cost goes up for subsequent convictions.
 
We know insurance can be expensive.
 
Here’s our guide to finding cheap car insurance in Louisiana.
Maine
The penalties for driving without insurance in Maine are pretty straightforward: a fine of $100 to $500 and the suspension of your driver’s license and registration.

 
Here’s our guide to finding cheap car insurance in Maine.

Maryland
In Maryland, letting your insurance lapse can get really, really expensive. You’ll have to pay $150 in uninsured motorist penalty fees for the first 30 days without insurance — and then $7 for each additional day, up to a max of $2,500. And that’s just for an insurance lapse! If you’re caught driving without insurance in Maryland, that’s a misdemeanor, and the penalty is 5 points on your license, a $1,000 fine and up to one year in jail. A second offense results in an additional 5 points, up to two years in jail and a fine of $2,000.
 
Don’t risk it! Just get insured.
 
Here’s our guide to finding cheap car insurance in Maryland.
Massachusetts
What are the penalties for driving uninsured in Massachusetts? For a first offense, you may have to pay a $500 fine. Your license can be suspended for 60 days, and then you’ll need to pay an additional $500 to get it reinstated. For later convictions, your license can be suspended for up to one year, the fine increases to a max of $5,000, and you could even face a year in jail.

Michigan
The penalties for driving without insurance in Michigan may include a fine between $200 and $500, up to a year in jail, and the suspension of your license and registration.
 
Here’s our guide to finding cheap car insurance in Michigan.
Minnesota
Driving uninsured in Minnesota is a misdemeanor that results in a fine ($200 -$1,000, although you can perform community service if you can’t afford to pay) and the suspension of your license, plates, and registration. You’ll have to pay $30 and show proof of insurance to reinstate them. Jail time is also a possibility.

 
Here’s our guide to finding cheap car insurance in Minnesota.

Mississippi
Did you know Mississippi has one of the nation’s highest rates of uninsured drivers? Driving without insurance in Mississippi is a misdemeanor, which means a $100 fine, up to $400 in additional fees, and the suspension of your license until you prove you have insurance.
 
If you fail to maintain your insurance, the penalty is $1,000 and the suspension of driving privileges for one year, or until you show proof of insurance.

 
Here’s our guide to finding cheap car insurance in Mississippi.

Missouri
In Missouri, the penalties for driving uninsured are pretty light for your first offense. Failing to provide proof of insurance is a misdemeanor. You’ll get four points on your license and you’ll have your license suspended until you to pay $20 to reinstate it.
 
A second offense, however, means up to 15 days in jail and/or a fine up to $500, plus a 90-day license suspension and a $200 reinstatement fee. Later convictions add a year-long suspension and a $400 reinstatement fee.

 
Here’s our guide to finding cheap car insurance in Missouri.

Montana
You can be charged with a misdemeanor if you’re caught driving uninsured in Montana. For a first offense, there’s a penalty of $250 to $500 or up to 10 days in jail. A second offense means a minimum $350 fine or 10 days in jail. Your driver’s license will also be revoked for 90 days, and you’ll get 5 points. If you’re caught driving without insurance a third time (or more), the penalties are a fine of $500, up to six months in jail, or both.

 
Here’s our guide to finding cheap car insurance in Montana.

Nebraska
Citations for driving without insurance in Nebraska are given to the owner of the vehicle — not the driver, if they’re operating someone else’s car. The penalty is having your license and registration suspended. To get them back, you must file an SR-22 for three years and pay a $50 reinstatement fee.

 
Here’s our guide to finding cheap car insurance in Nebraska.

Nevada
The penalties for driving uninsured in Nevada include the suspension of your license and registration and paying a $251 reinstatement fee. If your insurance lapses for longer than 30 days, you’ll have to pay an additional fine of $250 to $1,000, depending on the length of the lapse.
 
That’s just for a first offense! The second time you’re caught, the reinstatement fee rises to $501 and the potential fines may be $500 to $1,000. A third offense within five years gets even more expensive, with a maximum cost of $1,751, and a minimum 30-day license suspension.

 
Here’s our guide to finding cheap car insurance in Nevada.

New Jersey
Driving without insurance in NJ can be a very, very expensive mistake. A first offense means a fine of $300 to $1,000; an extra DMV surcharge of $250, to be paid each year for three years; community service; and the suspension of your license for one year. That’s right – one whole year.
 
A second offense for driving uninsured in NJ is worse: a fine up to $5,000, a mandatory sentence of 14 days in jail, even more community service, and a two-year license suspension.

Save yourself the pain by finding cheap New Jersey insurance.
 
Here’s our guide to buying car insurance in New Jersey.

New Mexico
In New Mexico, driving without insurance results in a fine up to $300 and/or up to 90 days in jail. Your registration will be suspended too.

 
Here’s our guide to finding cheap car insurance in New Mexico.

New York
The penalty for driving without insurance in NY (or letting someone else drive your uninsured vehicle) is a fine of up to $1,500 or up to 15 days in jail. Your license and registration will be revoked for at least a year, and you’ll have to pay $750 for reinstatement. Not only that, but New York charges a daily penalty for insurance lapses: $8 to $12 per day, depending on the length of the lapse.
 
Having a hard time finding NY auto insurance you can afford?
 
Here’s our guide to getting cheap car insurance in New York.
North Carolina
Driving without insurance in NC is a misdemeanor that can result in the suspension of your vehicle registration for up to 30 days. The penalty for letting your insurance lapse ranges from $50 for the first lapse (plus a $50 restoration fee) to $150 (plus the fee) for a third or subsequent lapse.
 
The good news is, you can find affordable NC insurance on Compare.com!
 
Here’s our guide to finding cheap car insurance in North Carolina.
North Dakota
The penalties for driving without car insurance in North Dakota — which is considered a class B misdemeanor — include a mandatory fine of at least $150, the suspension of your license, and a $50 reinstatement fee. After a second offense, you’ll have to surrender your license plates.

 
Here’s our guide to finding cheap car insurance in North Dakota.

Ohio
If you’re caught driving without insurance in Ohio, you’ll lose your driver’s license, registration, and plates until you prove you have insurance. You’ll also have to pay a $100 reinstatement fee and maintain special high-risk insurance for at least three years. A second offense carries a one-year suspension and a $300 reinstatement fee; a third or subsequent offense means a two-year suspension and a $600 fee.

 
Here’s our guide to finding cheap car insurance in Ohio.

Oklahoma
Driving uninsured in OK? Not OK. You’ll have to pay a fine of up to $250 and/or serve a 30-day jail term. Your vehicle may be impounded and your license plates may be seized, which means you’ll have to pay the storage fees and a $125 fee to get your plates back.

 
Here’s our guide to finding cheap car insurance in Oklahoma.

Oregon
A conviction for driving uninsured in Oregon results in a fine of $130 up to $1,000, and the suspension of your license. To get it back, you’ll need to file an SR-22 for the next three years.

 
Here’s our guide to finding cheap car insurance in Oregon.

Pennsylvania
If you’re caught driving without insurance in PA, you’ll get hit with a laundry list of penalties:

  • A minimum $300 fine.
  • A three-month suspension of your vehicle registration and license — or a $500 fee to get your registration reinstated sooner.
  • A fee to restore your vehicle registration.
  • A fee to restore your driver’s license.

 
Here’s our guide to finding cheap car insurance in Pennsylvania.

Rhode Island
The penalties for driving uninsured in Rhode Island are a license/registration suspension of up to three months and a fine of $100 to $500, for a first offense. The second time you’re caught, penalties increase to a six-month suspension and a $500 fine. For a third or later offense, your license/registration may be suspended up to one year, and you could be fined $1,000.

 
Here’s our guide to finding cheap car insurance in Rhode Island.

South Carolina
South Carolina allows people with a good driving record to drive without insurance if they pay a $550 uninsured motorist fee. If you don’t pay that fee, however, and you’re caught driving uninsured in SC, the penalty is the suspension of your license and registration until you pay that $550 fee and a reinstatement fee. You may also have to pay a daily fine for the insurance lapse, plus a fine of $100 to $200 (for a first offense) or serve up to 30 days in jail. You must also get your insurance company to file an SR-22 for three years.

 
Here’s our guide to finding cheap car insurance in South Carolina.

South Dakota
Driving uninsured in South Dakota is a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of $100 to $500 and/or up to 30 days in jail. Your license will be suspended for at least 30 days, and you’ll have to pay a reinstatement fee and file SR-22 insurance to get it back.

 
Here’s our guide to finding cheap car insurance in South Dakota.

Tennessee
The penalties for driving without insurance in Tennessee (a class C misdemeanor) include a fine up to $300, the suspension of your driver’s license and registration, and the impoundment of your vehicle. You’ll have to pay extra fees to get your license, registration and vehicle back, and you’ll have to file an SR-22 as well.

 
Here’s our guide to buying car insurance in Tennessee.

Texas
Driving without insurance in Texas can mean paying penalties for years to come. First-time offenders must pay a fine of up to $350, plus court costs and additional fees. Then, you’re stuck paying a surcharge to the DMV of $250 per year for the next three years. A second offense carries a fine of up to $1,000, plus the same surcharge. Now, if you show proof of insurance and you prepay for six months of insurance, you may be able to get the surcharge dropped to $125 per year.

 
Here’s a much better bargain: Find cheap car insurance in Texas!

Utah
Driving without insurance in Utah is a Class B misdemeanor, which carries a fine of at least $400 for a first offense and $1,000 for subsequent offenses within a three-year period. Your license and registration will be suspended, and you can’t get them back until you show proof of insurance and pay reinstatement fees.

 
Here’s our guide to finding cheap car insurance in Utah.

Vermont
The penalty for driving uninsured in Vermont is a fine up to $500, an assessment of points on your license, and/or the suspension of your driver’s license. Failing to show proof of insurance means a fine of up to $100.
Virginia
Virginia, like South Carolina, allows people to drive without insurance if they pay a $500 uninsured motorist fee (which gives you no protection in accidents). If you don’t pay this fee, the penalties for driving uninsured in VA include a fine of up to $500 and the suspension of your license, registration, and plates.
 
To get your driving privileges back, you’ll have to pay a reinstatement fee and file an SR-22 for three years.

 
Here’s our guide to finding cheap car insurance in Virginia.

Washington
The penalties for driving uninsured in Washington include a possible fine of $550 or more and having your license suspended.

 
Here’s our guide to finding cheap car insurance in Washington.

Washington, D.C.
Driving without insurance in DC can result in really big fines. If you’re caught (either by police or by the District’s electronic verification system), you’ll have to pay $150 for a lapse in insurance coverage from 1 to 30 days, plus $7 for each additional uninsured day after the first 30 days, up to a maximum of $2,500. Your registration can be suspended, too.

 
Here’s our guide to finding cheap car insurance in D.C.

Wisconsin
In Wisconsin, driving without insurance can result in a fine of up to $500 — plus a fine of $10 for failing to show proof of insurance. Trying to get away with fake or fraudulent proof of insurance can mean a really big fine: up to $5,000.

 
Here’s our guide to finding cheap car insurance in Wisconsin.

Wyoming
The penalties for driving without insurance in Wyoming are tough. A first offense can mean a fine of $250 to $750 and/or up to six months in jail. A second offense may result in a fine of $500 to $1,500 and/or up to six months in jail, as well as losing your registration and license plates.

 
Here’s our guide to finding cheap car insurance in Wyoming.


Regardless of where you live, it’s never a good idea to drive without car insurance.

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